Grammar Giggle – Is THERE Too Much Focus On Wrong Words, ESPN?

It is so disheartening that ESPN could make this error. This is the kind of error I see on Facebook a lot, but ESPN’s business is words and they should get it right. Their, there, they’re–they may all sound alike, but they are very different!

ESPN

Singular Verb, Plural Subject, Both . . . and, It’s All About the Agreement

Subject verbOne thing everyone learned in the fourth grade that hasn’t changed is that your verb must agree with your subject–both in number and person. For example:

  • He is anxious for his test results. (Singular verb is agrees with singular subject he.)
  • They are the noisiest group in the office. (Plural verb are agrees with plural subject they.)
  • Your order for six laptops is on the reception desk. (Singular verb is agrees with singular subject order.)

Where you have a subject with two or more words connected by and or both  . . . and, the subject is plural and requires a plural verb.

  • Andy and Sharon were nominated for office.
  • Both the set up and delivery of the computer were included in the price.

However, when two things connected with and actually refer to the same thing, use a singular verb.

  • Hamhocks and beans is his favorite New Year’s Day tradition. (Hamhocks and beans is one dish so it needs the singular verb is.)
  • The secretary and treasurer of the association is Mary. (Two positions handled by one person requires the singular verb is.)

That’s it for today, but we will follow up with more next week. Go forth and engage in plural and singular subject/verb agreement!

 

Grammar Giggle – Let’s Go Wresaling!

My brother caught this one on the evening news the other day. Perhaps it is spelled semi-phonetically, but it is very obviously wrong . . . on so many levels.

Sign

Grammar Giggle – Happy New Year!

I stole this from the “I am not a grammar cop. I am an English language enthusiast.” Facebook page, but it was all too fitting for a January 1 Grammar Giggle. Enjoy and Happy New Year!

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Try and Get This Right So We Can Try to Learn Something!

23459583_sA quick topic for today. The phrase “try and” is colloquial, meaning it is used more in informal conversation and is not used in formal writing. The correct term should be try to.

  • “Let’s try and get this car started” is OK if you’re talking to your buddy.
  • “Let’s try to get this report filed” is better if you are using business email or talking to someone at work.

Grammar Girl explained it well when she said if you use “try and” in a sentence like “I want to try and call Grammar Girl,” you are really doing two things–trying and calling. If you use “try to” in that same sentence–“I want to try to call Grammar Girl,”–you are using the preposition “to” to link the trying to the calling. (http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/a-few-short-questions)

This is really a simple thing that isn’t a “make it or break it” kind of thing, but is still important.

Do you have questions about whether or not something is correct or do you have examples of things you see over and over that you don’t think are right? Forward them on to me (proofthatblog@gmail.com) and I’ll address them here.

Grammar Giggles – Merry Chirstmas!

Now that the stress of the holidays is nearly over, I can get back on track. My sister sent me this card she received in the mail. Not only did the printer not catch the error, but I assume someone paid money for these cards and sent them out to their friends and family so who knows how many of them are in circulation. All I can say is “Wow!”

Christmas card

Grammar Giggles – Was You A Good Girl?

I found this one on Twitter.  It’s crazy that a mailing goes out from a business without being proofread. Not only “you was,” but why are “Good Girl” and “Reward You” capitalized? These mistakes are inexcusable.

Merle Norman

Grammar Giggles – Thrift Shop

While visiting my daughter in Albuquerque for Thanksgiving, we were driving around (lost) and I spotted this sign and made her stop so I could get a picture. Luckily, the sign maker was at least consistent because it was the same on both sides.

Thrift Shop

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thinking about Thanksgiving here in the United States got me thinking about names of holidays and grammar rules. For instance, if you use Eve or Day with the name of a holiday, i.e., Thanksgiving Day, you capitalize day. However, if you were to say “the day before Thanksgiving,” day would not be capitalized. Religious holidays are also capitalized

  • Good Friday
  • Hanukkah

Even some “invented” holidays are capitalized

  • Black Friday
  • Pi Day

Is happy capitalized when used with a holiday? If you exclaim “Happy Thanksgiving!” then it is, but if you use it in a regular sentence “I wish you all a happy Thanksgiving,” then it is not.

Generally, the seasons of the year are not capitalized unless it is part of a proper name.

  • This winter seems to be colder than normal.
  • The Phoenix College Spring Semester 2014 will begin in January.
  • HOWEVER: The fall semester is nearly over.

When using seasons to describe time of year, remember that seasons are reversed in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. When it is summer in the U.S., it is winter in most of South America and Australia. In that case, it is clearer to say “the first three months of the year,” or “the last quarter of 2014.”

As for possessives with the word “season,” the phrase Season’s greetings! is possessive because you are referring to holidays that happen only during one season—winter. Possessives with names of holidays are usually singular; however, where the holiday is plural, the apostrophe is after the plural word:

  • Presidents’ Day (celebrating more than one president)
  • April Fools’ Day (more than one fool)
  • Mother’s Day (each family celebrating its mother and it is the official name of the holiday)
  • Father’s Day (same)
  • HOWEVER: Veterans Day (official name of the holiday)

The official holiday name wins out over plurals and possessives, so you may just have to look it up to be positive you are correct.

I wish you all a happy Thanksgiving and know that when I count my blessings, the people who read my blog faithfully, those who stumble across it, and those who cheer me on are near the top of my list. Thank you!

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